That Dumb Thing We Keep Saying After Mass Shootings

If you were on Twitter or Facebook recently after the tragic shooting in Oregon, you probably saw this sentiment: “Stop politicizing this tragedy. Send your thoughts and prayers!” Or “What the victims’ families need are your thoughts and prayers, not your agenda.”

Something about that response bugs me. Presented with the demand “We need to do something!” these people drool a response which roughly translates to “Hey, I sent my thoughts and prayers. My job is done. Now let’s just drop this and get back to talking about football.”

I’m finding more and more that our thoughts and prayers, while (perhaps) well-intentioned, are meaningless. Seems to me that we don’t want to think about the issue at hand, we want to feel better about ourselves and ignore the fact that a lack of gun control is robbing American families of their children with horrifying and increasing frequency.

Posting/Tweeting “Thoughts and prayers” is lazy sympathy – a shedding of responsibility, a get out of jail free card, a self-congratulatory crutch for the apathetic. “Thoughts and prayers” is the new American way of saying “c’est la vie.”

This is an issue that absolutely needs to be “politicized.” Shit, I don’t even know what that term means anymore. If people suddenly started using private drones to slaughter thousands of Americans, would saying “Uh, maybe we should do something about all these fucking drones” be politicizing the issue? Or would it be a pretty rational suggestion?

“Ah, but Sean, the right to bear flying death machines isn’t in the Constitution, while the right to bear hand-held death machines totally is.” Fine, the second amendment is a real thing. Do me a favor and watch the first thirty seconds of this video:

Now tell me that this is what the Founding Fathers, who lived in a time when reloading a single-shot musket took most of the afternoon plus a nap, had in mind. In case you’re wondering, that gun would cost me about $800 and it took me thirty seconds on Google to find two local shops that would allow me to exercise my second amendment rights and pick it up tomorrow. No formal training. No background check. Just a dude who has been hospitalized twice for depression going home with the same semi-automatic rifle that killed 12 and injured 58 in Aurora three years ago. Three years ago and that scenario is still totally possible.

Benjamin Franklin would have shit his pants.

And if you make the argument “this is the price we pay for freedom,” spare me the “thoughts and prayers” bullshit. When you equate the loss of innocent lives to currency for an ideal, your thoughts and prayers mean jack shit.

Accepting there is a serious issue in this country takes a little bit of intelligence.

Demanding change and seeing it done takes work.

Tweeting “Thoughts and prayers for #UCC” takes neither.

Here’s a link: usa.gov/elected-officials. Click that, find your elected official, and write to them.

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